An Apology

This is an apology
to all of the women
I cut into tiny little pieces

To all of the women
I silently consumed
trembling awake
in the middle of the night

This is an apology
to the women who fell victim
to the only thing that I learned:
that the only way to love a woman
was to devour her
that the boys were predator
that the girls were prey
so my only option
was self-defense
trying to talk itself into murder

My closet
was always more of a butcher’s shop
and staying in it
meant staying on the hunt
standing on street corners
playing bird of prey
with a growling stomach
and knife in hand

And I can speak as much feminist as I want
but in those moments
I was all
“boys will be boys”
and I’m just taking notes

this is an apology
to the girl with the long black hair
who I sat behind in class
where I played
Budweiser ad-man
taking her body
and reducing it to 8 by 11 frames
taking the dip of her chest into t-shirt oblivion
and tearing it from
stretch of thigh slipping into boots
until she was no longer a person
just a pile of contraband polaroids
stuffed into my pocket
that I would hold, shaking
telling myself that I wasn’t gay
just looking at women’s bodies
because I wanted to be more like them

Admitting that I loved the hip-sway
and black velvet
never admitting that maybe
I just loved their voices
loved the light in their eyes

And that’s why

I was speechless
when I first held her
and her skin smelled like lavender
and her hair covered my shoulders like willow tree leaves spotting the ground
soft
in a way that I never imagined existed

That there are some things so soft
that they consume you
melt you into surrender
show you
what strong really is

This is an apology
to the women I was scared of
the ones that I underestimated
forgetting
that the thing about a woman’s voice
is that it is trained to be soft
but when she knows
that the sun is on her side
it swings deep and full
in a shade that masculinity
can only hope to imitate

This is an apology
to all of the women
I cut into tiny little pieces
for fear of being whole

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